The two species of rat most likely to be a problem are Norway rats (brown rat) and roof rats (black rat). Rats typically live in urban or suburban areas if access to food sources, water, and shelter can be acquired. Both pests are nocturnal and hide in their nests during the day. 

Preferring to eat around homes, businesses, and restaurants, the small pests an get inside through cracks and holes in the around the roof, on your walls, and on foundations.. Other avenues, such as open doors and windows, floor drains, fan openings, and previously infested packages of merchandise, also allow the critters to set up permanent residence indoors.

Norway rats are excellent swimmers and can enter through the sewers. Both species are climbers. Roof rats climbing abilities can scale trees, drain pipes, and siding to get onto your roof and inside your home.

Where Do Rats Live?

The most common rat nest sites inside your house include:

Inside Your Home

Rats will build their nests and live in the house where people are not present.
The top five most common rat nest locations inside include:

  1. attics
  2. cavity walls
  3. under eaves
  4. basements or cellars
  5. crawlspaces

Outside on your property

Norway rats are burrowers that will build nests in vegetation, along patios, and more. Roof rats are known to nest in trees and on rooflines.

Other places to find where rats live

  • Beneath concrete slabs
  • Sheds or garages
  • Gardens
  • Burrows in your yard
  • Wood piles
  • Inside your car

Rats are opportunist. They will also nest under your car hood

Construction of Rat Nests

Rat nests are usually constructed of manmade debris, twigs, cotton, and plant materials, and can be found in dark, enclosed areas like crawlspaces, between walls, in attics, under porches, or in boxed-in plumbing. In outdoor areas surrounding homes, things such as debris piles, yard water, old furniture, ponds, trees, and garbage dumps are inviting to rats, as well.

Signs of Nesting Rats

The presence of rats can easily be detected once home and business owners recognize the signs to look for. Perhaps the most obvious, rat droppings as large as 3/4 inch to 1/4 inch may be located in feeding areas, around nests, and along runways. Similarly, urine spots often appear in passage ways and may be discovered with the use of ultraviolet light.

Rat infestations can further be recognized by footprints and tail marks in dusty areas, smudge marks along walls, and visible gnawing on corners, ledges, and doors. By carefully listening in the evening hours, people suspecting the presence of nesting rats may hears currying, clawing, and squeaking sounds, or even gnawing, if quiet enough. Visual sightings of the small creatures serve as prime indicators, as well.

Prevention & Rat Removal

Effective rat control requires more than a few rat traps. You need to eliminate why the rats came to your property, remove access to your house, and finally exterminate the exisitng pest population.

Rats usually only live to about six months of age in the wild. They reach sexual maturity at around two to three months old. Pregnancies last between 20 and 30 days and typically result in 6 to 12 offspring. Though the rodents possess short lifespans, the rapid rate at which they reproduce, coupled with short gestation periods and large litter sizes, allows rats to continue as formidable pests.

Easily accessible sources of food will bring rats to your yard. Rats are omnivores and can eat almost anything. Rats can find food at bird feeders, pet food left outside, and garbage cans.

Inadequately sealed garages and poor sanitation practices foster ideal conditions for these pesky critters. Appropriate handling of food materials and waste helps deter rats from nesting. People concerned about rat infestations should attempt to rat-proof their homes.

Through exclusion and proper prevention, homeowners can eliminate troublesome rats from building nests inside and around homes.

To begin, openings of 1/4 inch or larger should be blocked with hardware cloth, floor drains should be covered with grates, window screens must fit firmly, and food products should be stored in metal cans with correctly tailored lids.

To exterminate already established invasions, homeowners may utilize traps, bait stations, electronic devices, and cats or dogs to stave off advancements of rodent populations. However, the use of such tactics may not entirely eliminate infestations. Concerned residents should contact the professional pest removal experts at Critter Control to take care of any rat issues before they get out of hand.

Learn more about rat removal.

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Customer Reviews

Kirk D.
It has been very effective at reducing the number of mice, lizard, and snake sightings. During one visit Edgar removed a rattlesnake he came across. We may see a snake maybe two to three times during the spring and summer months, but it has been far less than before.

Serivces: Wildlife & Rodent Control in San Diego
Robert B.
Full service. Excellent job of extracting raccoon, cleaning all animal waste, sanitizing, and spraying anti-parasitic substance. They closed all potential ports of entry, though the work did not match the vinyl, and it looks kind of tacky. They added blown insulation, which added a lot to the cost. They provide a one year warranty against animal intrusion, with an option to extend the warranty at the end of each one- year period. They were willing to work with me one the price. I will probably extend my warranty, and will definitely use them it the future.
Gene F.
I was really impressed by these guys. Got a call within a few hours of making an inquiry. Had a rep out to inspect the situation by the end of the week, and when they laid out the timeline they kept if not exceeded listed times.

Rob, Travis, and Jim were all professional, polite, and courteous and after months of hearing squirrels in my ceiling they are gone and the repair to my flashing looks excellent. Can't recommend these guys enough.
Bob I.

Jeff was incredibly professional and helpful. I'll use them again and would recommend them to anyone.
-Detroit, MI
Richard L.

Critter Control did a great job of evaluating our house for sites of entry after we found bats and a squirrel in our attic. They completed their work promptly and professionally.
-Seattle, WA
Kenneth H.
We heard some noise from the corner of our house. Concerned that it could be inside we called for an inspection. Jessy arrived as scheduled and conducted a complete inspection of our home. Based on a recording we made he determined we had a tree frog on our roof. I was pleased that we didn’t have any rodent in our house. And his inspection could a few spots I can tighten up around my house. I am very happy with the outcome.
-New Hampshire
Lee F.
We have a vacation home in Western Mass and haven’t been there much during the pandemic as we live and work in Atlanta, GA. On our most recent visit we noticed that we had some rodent intrusion as well as some un-welcomed wildlife who decided to make our vacation home their home.

We contacted Critter Control and Mr. Cahoon was quick to set up an appointment as we wouldn’t be in town very long. He came out and assessed our issues. He informed us of our options to both eradicate and control future intrusions. Keeping in mind that wildlife is wildlife! He quickly got to work eradicating the rodents and wildlife from our home and addressing the intrusion issues. We feel much better leaving our vacation home for periods at a time knowing that Mr. Cahoon and Critter Control did their job and did it right! Thanks again!
Mary L.
We bought an old cabin last spring , it was used for years as a summer vacation cabin, therefore maintenance wasn’t a priority. After our project to remodel started, we found evidence of mice droppings.

We immediately called Critter Control and they came and gave us a reasonable estimate to remove all remnants and insulation. They sanitized and replaced with new insulation and sealing up points of entry .

Seeing their professional work made us feel confident and secure that the problem was solved ! Everyone we worked with continued to show professional and respectful work. Highly recommend this company! We continue to use critter control monthly to be sure we are mice and bug free!


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